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Banana Bats & Ding-Dong Balls; A century of Unique Baseball Inventions

Banana Bats & Ding-Dong Balls; A century of Unique Baseball Inventions

Banana Bats & Ding-Dong Balls; A century of Unique Baseball Inventions
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Banana Bats & Ding-Dong Balls; A century of Unique Baseball Inventions

by Gutman, Dan

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  • Paperback
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About This Item

New York: Macmillan, 1995. First Printing [Stated]. Trade paperback. Very good. xvii, [3], 251, [1] pages. Photographs. Diagrams. Bibliography. Index. Cover has slight wear and soiling. Dedication page states, in part, "In memory of Abner Doubleday, inventor of the fence post." Dan Gutman (born October 19, 1955) is an American writer. Gutman graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in psychology in 1977 and started graduate school in that field until moving to New York City in 1980 to attempt a writing career. Gutman was a magazine editor and columnist. Gutman's 1996 novel The Kid Who Ran for President was compared to the Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign by comedian John Oliver during an August 2016 segment of the show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. As a result, the book jumped in sales. Among his baseball work, aside from Banana Bats, are: Baseball Babylon, Baseball's Biggest Bloopers, Baseball's Greatest Games, World Series Classics, and They Came From Center Field. He is a member of The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). No sooner was baseball invented than inspiring visionaries began to dream up gizmos that would enhance, alter, or add to the game. Here is a collection of the most intriguing and bizarre baseball inventions--each accompanied by the original illustrations the inventor submitted when applying for a patent. Extracts from a review by Phil Jackman: Dan Gutman's 'Banana' peels off baseball's cover. It was a Frenchman who once uttered, "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball." But Jacques Barzun never got around to telling the inquisitive where they could learn baseball. A somewhat unique name for a gem of research and information. Who among us did not know that the reason the bleachers are called the bleachers is: In the early years of the century, ballparks were built of wood and, beyond the outfield, there were seats exposed to the sun. The sun had a way of, yes, bleaching the exposed planks. Author Gutman literally takes every single piece of equipment associated with baseball and gives you its origin, all the things that have been tried to improve them, the harebrained inventions and innovations. Hot dogs owe their existence to concessionaire Harry Stevens. Stevens had started out peddling scorecards. On a very cold afternoon in the Polo Grounds, Stevens sent out for some sausages known as "dachshunds," boiled them and slipped them into a bun for handling purposes. "Get your red-hots" vendors screamed and the customers ate them up. Bats? The original "Louisville Slugger" was fashioned for a player named Pete Browning, whose father was a woodworker named Bud Hillerich, who fashioned a masterpiece out of a bedpost. Danny Litwhiler, was coaching at Michigan State in 1974 when he read in the college newspaper about campus police catching speeders with a "gun." Voila, the JUGS speed gun. Subsequently, Litwhiler became known as "The Thomas Edison of Baseball" as he perfected new and better ways to do things. The Balata Ball, used during World War II when the rubber was needed for military purposes. The "Iron Mike" pitching machine, named at Wake Forest University, probably for the legendary flinger Joe "Iron Man" McGinnity, who used to pitch 400 innings per season as a matter of course. The author concludes after his 232-page effort, "The idea here, as with most baseball books, is to tell a bunch of cool stories you probably haven't heard before." Gutman succeeds admirably.


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Bookseller's Inventory #
Banana Bats & Ding-Dong Balls; A century of Unique Baseball Inventions
Gutman, Dan
Trade paperback
Book Condition
Used - Very Good
Quantity Available
First Printing [Stated]
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
Baseball, Inventions, Innovation, Ballparks, Bleachers, Bats, Mitts, Chest Protectors, Curveball, Fastball, Hillerich & Bradsby, Jockstrap, Daniel Litwhiler, Spaulding, Sporting Goods, Pitching, Protective Gear, Frederick Thayer, Umpires

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Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
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Silver Spring, Maryland

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